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BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 8:00am September 20, 2021,

So we are back to ‘Emmys So White’ as all major acting awards go to White actors


The 2021 Emmys has been widely criticized for its lack of diversity after presenting all major acting awards to White actors. The show boasted one of the most diverse sets of nominations in history with a record number of 49 non-White performers being nominated this year in the acting and reality competition categories. However, no actors of color were awarded major trophies.

White actors took home all 12 lead and supporting categories across the comedy, drama and limited races at the Emmys. Among the actors of color overlooked were the late Michael K Williams (Lovecraft Country), Billy Porter and Mj Rodriguez (Pose), and Kenan Thompson and Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live).

Williams and Porter lost to The Crown actors Tobias Menzies and Josh O’Connor respectively. Kenan and Yang lost to Jason Sudeikis and Brett Goldstein from Ted Lasso.

Awards ceremonies like the Oscars and the Emmys have a long history of getting called out for lack of diversity. People were hoping to see some actors of color being given the recognition they deserve at this year’s Emmys. However, as the first 15 winners of the night were called, all being white, the hashtag #EmmysSoWhite began trending online.

Curiously, Black artists made up a significant number of announcers, hosts and musical performers yet few of the winners at the 73rd Emmy Awards. And people noticed that.

“Black host, Black announcer hell even Black music,” tweeted Emmy award-winning audio engineer Alexandria Perryman. “We doing everything but win.”

“The fact that the #Emmys2021 has so many Black and brown people hosting, and so few winning, is another example of performative ‘commitments’ to representation,” said Rashad Robinson, president of the Color of Change campaign movement.

“It’s not just about who gets a trophy – awards like the Emmys determine who gets their projects funded and more.” He added: “This is about celebrating diverse stories in Hollywood but more than that, it’s also about creating pathways for creatives from marginalised communities – Black, brown, indigenous, LGBTQ+, women and more – to have a seat at the table.”

“I May Destroy You” writer Michaela Coel was one of the few people of color to take home a trophy during the ceremony on Sunday. She won for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series, the third time a Black creative has won the category and first for a Black woman. RuPaul’s Drag Race won Best Competition Series and Hamilton took home the award for Outstanding Variety Special.

But these wins were not in the major categories. “So we’re back to — and always will be — #EmmysSoWhite,” Preston Mitchum, the Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project, tweeted.

“Why are people upset about the #EmmysSoWhite? Because representation matters, recognition matters, and acknowledgment matters. Award after award goes to another white person while people of color hand out awards and clap in the background,” a Twitter user wrote.

“Yeah, considering how few people of color won tonight, the discussion of diversity is officially bullshit,” another added.

Thanks to a similar Twitter trend #OscarsSoWhite recently, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced new diversity standards for Best Picture nominations. The standards, which will come into effect in 2024 for the 96th Academy Awards, are designed to encourage equitable representation on and off-screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience, the Academy said.

It is yet to be seen if this online trend could lead to a similar response for future Emmy award ceremonies. The 73rd Emmy Awards, which was hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, aired live from 8-11 p.m. ET on CBS.

Here are the winners’ list for the acting awards:

Lead Actress, Limited Series, Movie or Anthology
Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha)
Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown) – WINNER

Lead Actor, Limited Series, Movie or Anthology
Paul Bettany (WandaVision)
Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Ewan McGregor (Halston) – WINNER
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton)

Lead Actress, Drama
Uzo Aduba, In Treatment (HBO)
Olivia Colman, The Crown (Netflix) – WINNER
Emma Corrin, The Crown (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Mj Rodriguez, Pose (FX)
Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Lead Actor, Drama
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country (HBO)
Josh O’Connor, The Crown (Netflix) – WINNER
Rege-Jean Page, Bridgerton (Netflix)
Billy Porter, Pose (FX)
Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason (HBO)

Lead Actress, Comedy
Aidy Bryant, Shrill
Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish (ABC)
Jean Smart, Hacks (HBO Max) – WINNER

Lead Actor, Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish (ABC)
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
William H. Macy, Shameless (Showtime)
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) – WINNER
Kenan Thompson, Kenan (NBC)

Supporting Actress, Limited Series, Movie or Anthology
Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown (HBO) – WINNER
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton (Disney+)
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton (Disney+)
Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown (HBO)
Moses Ingram, The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision (Disney+)

Supporting Actor, Limited Series, Movie or Anthology
Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown (HBO) – WINNER
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton (Disney+)
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton (Disney+)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton (Disney+)
Anthony Ramos, Hamilton (Disney+)
Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You (HBO)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster, The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)

Supporting Actress, Drama
Gillian Anderson, The Crown (Netflix) – WINNER
Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown (Netflix)
Emerald Fennell, The Crown (Netflix)
Madeline Brewer, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Aunjanue Ellis, Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Supporting Actor, Drama
Tobias Menzies, The Crown (Netflix) – WINNER
O-T Fagbenle, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Max Minghella, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country (HBO)
Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian (Disney+)
John Lithgow, Perry Mason (HBO)
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us (NBC)

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) – WINNER
Rosie Perez, The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Hannah Einbinder, Hacks (HBO Max)
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Juno Temple, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) – WINNER
Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Hacks (HBO Max)
Paul Reiser, The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Bowen Yang, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Nick Mohammed, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Jeremy Swift, Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 20, 2021


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